HondaJet Designer Michimasa Fujino Receives AIAA Top Honor

Michimasa Fujino pioneered innovative solutions, such as the over-the-wing engine mount or OTWEM, in the design of advanced business jets. Courtesy AIAA

Michimasa Fujino, lead HondaJet designer and president and CEO of Honda Aircraft Company, has received the 2021 Reed Aeronautics Award for “the invention of advanced aerodynamic and structural techniques.”

Fujino was honored on Thursday by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics during its Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala, which was held virtually this year as a result of the ongoing pandemic. This annual event recognizes the most influential and inspiring individuals in aerospace, whose outstanding contributions merit top accolades.

The Reed Award is the highest honor for a notable achievement in aeronautics that represents a significant milestone in engineering advancement.

In a statement, the AIAA said, “The clean-sheet aircraft design conceived by Fujino introduced innovations in aviation technology, including the over-the-wing engine mount and natural laminar flow wing and fuselage.

“The HondaJet is the first, and only, business jet to include these technologies.”

“I was very surprised, honored, and very grateful to be recognized with the 2021 Reed Aeronautics Award,” Fujino said in a statement. “I’ve worked on airplane design for the past 35 years. It has been challenging, but also very exciting.

“On behalf of Honda Aircraft Company, I’d like to express my sincere appreciation to everyone who supported the HondaJet project.”

In 2012, the institute awarded Fujino the AIAA Aircraft Design Award for the HondaJet’s over-the-wing engine configuration.

The Reed Aeronautics Award is named after Dr. Sylvanus A. Reed, an aeronautical engineer, designer, and founding member of the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences in 1932. Reed was the first to develop a propeller system composed of metal rather than wood. His aluminum alloy propeller gave Jimmy Doolittle’s plane the speed it needed to win the 1925 Schneider Cup race and brought the inventor much credit and many rewards.

Past recipients of the award include:

  • Clarence L. Johnson for the SR-71
  • Ben R. Rich for the F-117
  • Preston A. Henne for the MD-80 and Gulfstream aircraft
  • Burt L. Rutan for the Voyager

The Honda Aircraft Company took home Flying’s 2017 Innovation Award for the HondaJet HA-420 design.

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